Iwabokki Sluice

Thursday 4th August, this morning, we had a walk into the wetland organized by the Salmon society. First, we went to see the Iwabooki Sluice, site that is a stake of controversy between the members of this society and the Kuchiro Fishery Coop. Those civilians, are in favour of the destruction of the sluice, in order to allow the salmon to go upstream and pond their eggs naturally, while the Kuchiro Fishery Coop claim that the consequences of such a removal are out of forecast and may have negative impact in allowing a huge amount of sediments accumulated to flow into the mouth of the river. Even if we may suspect that the actual concern of the Coop is related to the hatchery of raw fish that is bound to the existence of the sluice, their official argument is relevant and cannot be dismissed. However, this case well illustrates an issue that underlines any intervention in an ecosystem.
It is almost impossible to predict the consequences of a human intervention on a natural ecosystem as far as the web of connections between all the parts of the system is overwhelming. In the afternoon of the same day, we went seeing the parts of the river that has undergone the project of remeandering. According to the explanation of officials from the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport, this project has been successful in restoring the wetland in these areas, even if still not completed. The outcomes of the project could have been outdrawn quite easily since it was about recreating the previous conditions of the environement. In such a case, maybe it is easier to predict the consequences of human intervention. However, it seems that regarding the Iwabokki sluice, the accumulation of sediments introduce an unknown variable that make the authorities reluctant to intervene. But, project of restoration in identical conditions are really rare. Then, should the caution principle prevails ? I assume that probably we probably could find example of such an operation has been implemented and take this example as jurisprudence. Then, authorities should gain knowledge from previous situations that has been handled. Still, at some point, there is always a first time experiement for a particular set of conditions and in that case measures has been implemented with very few ways of predict the outcomes. But, science progress relies on the overcome of the caution principle. Then, instead of maintaining a status quo, experiments should be done in the first place in order to figure out to what extent the risks are worth being taken.


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